Do you know someone (or are you that someone?) who is on the fence about getting their Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist certification? This article, about how REALTORS® are using the certification to expand their business opportunities, will help motivate!
Read “A Certification That’s Not the Last Resort”, by Michele Gillis
by Russell Riggs
On Oct. 4, 2011, Congress extended National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) authority as part of a broader stopgap government funding measure, the Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 2608). This latest extension will run through Nov. 18, 2011.
However, while NAR is urging Congress to use the additional time to complete work on a 5-year NFIP reauthorization and reform bill (H.R. 1309), sources from the Hill say this is anything but a done deal. While long-term reform and reauthorization would provide certainty and avoid further disruption to real estate markets, a tough Washington lobbying fight among America’s insurance companies threatens to delay the long-term renewal of the National Flood Insurance Program later this month. All this may mean the bill, and its other reforms of the flood insurance program, gets kicked down the road. A likely outcome could be another one-year extension included in a final fiscal 2012 spending bill. NAR will continue to push for the 5-year reform and reauthorization bill in order to give confidence to real estate markets nationwide.
Annie Blatz, RSPS, CRB, ABRM CIPS, GREEN
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
How many times have you said “This is a great time to buy. Interest rates are low, inventory is plentiful and prices are lower than they have been in years.”
In May I decided to take my own advice and buy an investment property in Florida. Although I had considered a second home in Florida several years ago, when the market changed, my discretionary money wasn’t there and my plans went on the back burner. But things have changed dramatically. Prices are unbelievable. Even after all I had read, I could scarcely believe the values compared to my own Cape Cod market. I looked at nice single family homes that were priced at one-third of what they were 5 years ago.
Part of the good news was when I learned that the equity line that I already had in place on my primary residence has a ridiculously low interest rate and I could use that to pay cash for my Florida home.
I discovered that rental rates are excellent and the monthly rent would cover my taxes, insurance, and interest on the loan – with some left to go toward the principal. My daughter is a student in graduate school in Florida and was prepared to move in as soon as I closed. So my investment would start working for me right away.
I closed on the perfect little house just 60 days after making the decision to buy.
In 4 or 5 years, my tenant/daughter may be ready to move on and I will need to reassess the investment. To sell? To rent? To retire and move in myself (it is Florida, after all)? There will be choices.
Today I feel pretty good about how I just spent my money – IT IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY A SECOND HOME. So for all you Resort and Second Home Specialists out there, consider taking your own professional advice and make an investment!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
By Lew Sichelman
Two politically potent housing organizations have called on the Federal Housing Administration to relax its rule regarding condominiums.
The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders want the FHA to eliminate the restriction on condo rentals and increase or at least temporarily suspend its limitation on the number of units that can be financed by government-insured loans. They also want relief from a rule that requires a certain number of units must be sold before buyers can qualify for an FHA mortgage.
Under current FHA rules, at least 30% of a condominium community’s total units must be sold before the agency will endorse a mortgage on any unit. But the requirement will become even more onerous when it returns to its previous 50% level on June 30.
In addition, FHA financing is limited to no more than 50% of the condominium’s units, and no less than half the community can be owner-occupied.
Relaxing the rules, the NAR and NAHB said in a letter to acting FHA Commissioner Robert Ryan, would allow more first-time buyers to purchase condos, which tend to be aimed at the first-time buyer market. Often, FHA financing is the only financing for which rookie buyers can qualify, they pointed out.
The two groups, which were joined in the letter by the Community Associations Institute, and the Institute for Real Estate Management, also want the prohibition against investors owning more than 10% of the development’s units raised “to a more appropriate level,” and to increase that part of a mixed-use property’s floor area that can be used for commercial purposes from 25% to 45%.
On the latter proposal, they argued that combining residential and commercial uses helps reduce sprawl and offers residents employment opportunities and easier access to products and services.
Finally, to more accurately reflect current market conditions, the trade groups want the FHA to change its requirement that no more than15% of the owners in any one condo be more than 30 days late on their homeowners association dues to “no greater than 90 days.”